There was something striking in a recent piece on hospitality trends for 2022 published by Oracle, highlighting the need for more high-tech, low-touch options and a rise in automation.
The striking thing isn’t that these trends are mentioned as ticking in the up direction for this sector, still in the midst of COVID-19 recovery efforts combined with a generational evolution resulting from a customer base more used to choice and flexibility and pandemic-infused labor shortages across the board.
No, the striking thing is that the current trends on display were being discussed more in relation to guest-facing experiences such as hotel check-ins and leisure goods and services purchases.
That’s all well and good, and deserved for an industry hit very hard the past couple of years.
But, what of the back-office needs? Where’s the love for high-tech and automation when it comes to the backbone activities of travel, leisure and hospitality?
Yes, you guessed it, we’re talking about billing and revenue sharing needs.
Having high-tech, low-touch options such as contactless check-in for travel and leisure facilities certainly is attainable and, frankly, essential in the evolving guest experience offered today, but the same must be said for the internal processes which keep those facilities humming along.
Interlocking Needs in Place
Consider, for example, that most of the larger hotel chains operate a variation of a franchise model and, as such, require high-tech internal financial solutions equipped with complex partner compensation capabilities. There could be an interworking network of chains within chains for hotel or other leisure facility operations, and each individual guest transaction can kick off a series of settlement fees between the links in those chains.
When you consider that for each transaction, the resulting calculations may involve not just billing and invoicing, but payment-side fees within a network of interlocking hospitality operations, increasing demand for more automation offerings and increased reliance on modern, high-tech solutions makes perfect sense.
Often, as is the case with other industries, an ERP is being asked to be the workhorse solution to address functionality never within its original purview of design. These and other legacy systems are not able to support revenue sharing and the calculations for various settlement fees including distribution fees, reward program fees, processing fees and affiliation fees.
The ability to address such complex billing and partner compensation needs – and at a speed in sync with the typical high volume demand of this industry – requires a specifically-designed platform able to integrate with – and, frankly, help take a load off – those overworked ERP systems.
Pick Up Where People Left Off
As we noted earlier, these trends for more high-tech and automated offerings should not be confined to front-of-the-house needs within the hospitality industry because the shrinking workforce needs the help.
As the Oracle article noted, recent labor shortages are hampering this industry’s COVID-related recovery which is leading to a rise in automation to help improve efficiency. The piece referenced a recent talk given by the CEO of Marriott, Tony Capuano, in which he stated 20 percent of employees in travel and tourism globally have permanently left the segment, a significant challenge to navigate indeed.
The Road to Recovery
High-tech and automation solutions play a significant role in stabilizing the industry and setting it on the proper path forward in this new hospitality landscape, not just on the front end, but the back end as well. Installing the right internal systems can free up limited staff and direct them toward areas where more high-touch involvement is better served.
This is also an industry in which the maxim ‘one-size-fits-all’ doesn’t typically work.
In a dramatically changing tourism and travel sector, having flexibility within an organization is paramount. As many hospitality executives have noted in recent missives on how their businesses have coped over the past couple years, the common theme has essentially been, ‘be comfortable with experimentation, but experimentation built upon a solid foundation.’
Contact us today to learn how RecVue’s billing and revenue share capabilities helped global car rental leader Hertz integrate its billing and partner payment processes across 43K franchise offices, in total handling over 4.5M rental agreements each month.